Great Britain is one of the most developed countries in the world. Great Britain enters into the number of countries of “large eight”.
We all know that the Britains are very cultural people and many possess an outstanding mind. What makes them similar? National culture, heredity, traditions or may be education? But do many people in our country know about education in other countries? Many students would like to know about how their contemporaries in other countries live. In what schools do they study? Does the state ensure all them with necessary means for studying? What are their chances to obtain higher or technical education for worthy life in the future?
This article opens the curtain above education in Britain and contains sufficiently complete and comprehensive information for the student and school staff. The purpose of this article is to study the system of education in Britain and to look at from an objective point of view.
In the second half of the 20-century qualitative changes in education system occurred in Britain: the system of education began to be more oriented towards the development of useful knowledge. But in spite of this in the British system of education many survivals of the past, which strongly harm education, still remained.
In this synopsis the following reductions are accepted:
- A-level (advance level) an examination usually taken by pupils at their final year at school at the age of eighteen. The exam was introduced in 1951. A-levels are needed to enter most types of higher education and a student must usually have three good grades to enter university.
- AS level (advanced supplementary level) an examination taken by some pupils in their final year at school when they are taking their A-level. The AS level is a simpler examination than the A-level and can be studied in half the time. The exam was first introduced in 1989 and is intended to give pupils the chance to study a greater variety of subjects.
- Cathedral school (choir school) a school in a cathedral city, usually a preparatory school or, occasionally, a public school, some of their pupils sing in the cathedral choir.
- College of Further Education (CFE) a local college attended mostly by students between the ages of 16 and 19 who are working for the NVQs and practical qualifications; by some students taking A-levels and by mature students doing part-time courses.
- College 1. An independent institution of higher education within a university, typically one at Oxford University or Cambridge University. 2. A specialized professional institution of secondary higher education, such as a college of music or a college of education. 3. The official title of certain public schools, such as Eton College.
- Comprehensive school a large state secondary school for children of all abilities from a single district, providing a wide range of education. Over 90% of all secondary school students attend a comprehensive school. Comprehensive schools were introduced in 1965 to provide an equal secondary (11 18 years old) education. Comprehensive schools put pupils in different classes according to their ability, but there are no entry examinations.
- Further education a term used to apply to any kind of education after secondary school, but not including university work (which is higher education).
- General Certificate of Education, the (GCE) the standard school-leaving examination. It is taken by school pupils at the end of their fifth year of secondary education, at the age of 16. The GCE replaced the formed dual examination system of GCE O-level (General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level) and SCE (Certificate of Secondary Education, Ordinary Level), and the first GCSE examination were held in 1988. GCSE certificates are awarded for each subject on a seven-point scale, from A to G, and the examinations syllabus and grading procedures are monitored by the School Examination and Assessment Council.
- Local Educational Authority (LEA) the local government body that is responsible for the state schools in a district, as well as further education, and that engages teachers, maintains school buildings and supplies schools with equipment and materials.
- National Curriculum (NC) was introduced into the education system in 1989. Until that time LEA decided on the curriculum, the subjects which would be taught in school in their area. The NC is designed to make a national standard for all school pupils between the ages of 5 to 16. The main subjects are English, Mathematics, Science and a foreign language, either French or German. There are examinations for all pupils at the ages of 7, 11, 14, and 16 to check on their progress.
- Oxbridge a colloquial term for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, jointly regarded as being superior to other universities and as enjoying and giving special privilege and prestige.
- Secondary school a state school or private school education for school children aged between 11 and 18. Other types of secondary schools are grammar schools, middle schools, secondary modern schools, technical schools and public schools. An extension of a state secondary schools a tertiary college.
- Nursery school a school for very young children, usually three or four years old (before compulsory education, which begins at the age of five).
- Pidgin English (PE) 1. A language made up of elements of English and some other foreign language, especially Chinese or Japanese, originally developing as a means of verbal communication when trading. 2. Loosely, any kind of English spoken with the elements of another language, whether for genuine communication or of comic effect.
The British educational system has much in common with that in Europe, in that:
- Full-time education is compulsory for all children in the middle teenage years. Parents are required by law to see that their children receive full-time education, at school or elsewhere, between the ages of 5 and 16 in England, Scotland and Wales and 4 and 16 in Northern Ireland.
- The academic year begins at the end of summer.
- Compulsory education is free of charge, though parents may choose a private school and spend their money on education their children. About 93% of pupils receive free education from public funds, while the others attend independent schools financed by fees paid by parents.
- There are three stages of schooling, with children moving from primary school (the first stage) to secondary school (the second stage). The third stage (sometimes called the tertiary level) provides further and higher education and includes CFE, technical college, college of higher education, and universities.
There is, however, quite a lot that distinguishes education in Britain from the way it works in other countries. The most important distinguishing features are the lack of uniformity and comparativly little central control. There are three separate government departments managing education: the Departments for Education and Employment is responsible for England and Wales alone; Scotland and Northern Ireland retain control over the education within their respective countries. None of these bodies exercises much control over the details does not prescribe a detailed program of learning, books and materials to be used, nor does it dictate the exact hours of the school day, the exact days of holidays, schools finance management and suchlike. As many details as possible are left to the discretion of the individual institution or of the LEA.
Many distinctive characteristics of British education can be ascribed, at least partly, to the public school tradition. The present-day level of grass-root independence as well as different approach to education has been greatly influenced by the philosophy that a (public) school is its own community. The 19th century public schools educated the sons of the upper and upper-middle classes and the main aim of schooling was to prepare young men to take up positions in the higher ranks of the army, the Church, to fill top-jobs in business, the legal profession, the civil serves and politics. To meet this aim the emphasis was made on character-building and the development of team spirit (hence traditional importance of sports) rather than on academic achievement.
Such schools were (and still often are) mainly boarding establishments, so they had a deep and lasting influence on their pupils, consequently, public-school leavers formed a closed group entry into which was difficult, the ruling elite, the core of the Establishment.
The 20th century brought education and its possibilities for social advancement within everybodys reach, and new, state schools naturally tended to copy the features of the public schools. So today, in typically British fashion, learning for its own sake, rather than for any practical purpose is still been given a high value. As distinct from most other countries, a relatively stronger emphasis is on the quality of person that education produces rather than helping people to develop useful knowledge and skills. In other words, the general style of teaching is to develop understanding rather than acqu